Beijing says a Japanese national detained in China is suspected of espionage. “This Japanese citizen is suspected of engaging in espionage activities, in violation of the People’s Republic of China’s Penal Code and anti-espionage law,” said Mao Ning, a spokeswoman for the Chinese ministry. Foreign Affairs. “The Chinese authorities have taken coercive measures” against this person in order to “conduct an investigation”, she stressed during a regular press conference.
Tokyo had called earlier Monday for the release “as soon as possible” of this Japanese national. The Japanese embassy in China was informed “this month that a Japanese man aged 50 to 60 was being detained in Beijing for violating Chinese laws”, said Japanese government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno. . He clarified that Tokyo was asking to be able to make a consular visit to its national.
In China for twenty years
The man is an employee of the Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas, a company spokesman told AFP, declining to give further details. According to Japanese media, this person has worked in China for two decades. Japanese news agency Kyodo said the man, a former top official of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China, was arrested just before his scheduled return to Japan this month.
“China is a country governed by the rule of law. Foreign nationals present in China must respect Chinese laws. Those who break the law and commit crimes and misdemeanors are prosecuted,” Mao Ning said. “There have been several similar cases in recent years involving Japanese citizens. Japan should better discipline and call its citizens to order. »
In October 2019, a Japanese university professor was detained by Beijing on espionage charges. He was released the following month. And in March 2020, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the detention of a Chinese man accused of espionage, who according to Japanese media also worked at a Japanese university.